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Moon Lake by Joe R. Lansdale

When he was 13 years old, Daniel Russell’s father tried to kill him. Overlooking Moon Lake--and having no job, a wife who left him, and a bleak future for him and his son before them—dad drives over the bridge with his son into that dark, placid body of water below. Luckily, this was 1968 and seatbelts weren’t standard, and the force of the plunge sends young Daniel crashing through the rear window as the clunky Buick, with dad still inside, sinks to the murky bottom. But Daniel has another lucky break. It just so happens that Ronnie, also in her teens, is night fishing with her dad. And yet another lucky break: Ronnie is a good swimmer, and she saves Daniel’s life.

The reader might ask, “Well that’s a pretty compelling beginning, but can Lansdale keep up the intensity? It seems that the whole book will probably be pretty boring after that.” But this is where I would have to disagree. Moon Lake by Joe R. Lansdale is a small town thriller that you will have difficulty putting down.

When the local sheriff finally finds his father’s body ten years later, Daniel returns to Long Lincoln. Now a journalist, Daniel rekindles a romance with Ronnie, shakes things up at the local newspaper, challenges systemic racism, confronts government conspiracy, and digs up secrets that those in power would rather keep secret. Moon Lake is a captivating mystery where Lansdale masterfully unveils the secrets of Long Lincoln and its inhabitants, while at the same time blending suspense and humor. Moon Lake is a joyful read that is sometimes profound, sometimes profane, and sometimes both. Highly recommended.

Joe R. Lansdale is one of my favorite contemporary writers, and if he continues to write books like Moon Lake, he will remain to be so. You can find this, and other books by Joe R. Lansdale, at our library. You can do a search on our catalog, call us at 570-894-8860, or email me at to make a request.

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